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I'm intrigued by brewing with some of the less popular hops we have in New Zealand, particularly with high demand for things like riwaka and sauvin. I'm sure there is a good use for these hops beyond bittering in boring mass market lagers.
In particular, I'm interested in people's experiences with the flavour, aroma and bittering quality of hops like sticklebract, super alpha, green bulllet and pacific jade. I've used super alpha as a late addition along with some frutier NZ varieties and it went down really well in an English IPA I did but I have no experience with the others. I love Southern Cross as a late addition too, although I guess that is more widely used.
I've done a SMaSH pale ale with Sticklebract that came out very nice, kind of citrusy and not harsh at all for the AA. I got it when I was sorting out nailing down my all grain process since it was $20 for nearly 500g instead of the normal $8-10 for 100g, but still use it a fair bit (when I actually get to brew that is!).
Recently did a smash pilsner with Green Bullet. The flavours are ok, but you have to be careful with excessive bittering with some of these high alpha varieties. They can be a bit harsh and unforgiving - my late (and dry) additions taste green, bitter and not very aromatic, although not completely unpleasant. Pacific Jade and SC can be quite peppery and hot tasting, although they do have more of a citrusy character. Late additions of the high alpha varieties, if not cooled quickly or added at the right time, seem to add more bitterness and greenness than anything else. It's something I've not had much luck with, and I'd love to know how other people have used them for aromatics.
Pacifica and Hallertau Aroma are two great and largely overlooked hop varieties. Their flavours are floral, citrusy and more subtle. They go pretty well in any beer type and are quite forgiving.
NZ Hops Irish Red recipe, Green Bullet and Super Alpha - http://nzhops.co.nz/recipes/irishred.html
I've brewed that a lot, doubled the late addition and loved it.
Tried a Super Alpha pale ale, roughly this http://www.forum.realbeer.co.nz/xn/detail/1500433:Comment:99459
I wasn't overly impressed but I was probable looking for something else, but others found something good in it
I love pac jade as bittering. I smelled some pale wort recently that had no aroma additions, only pac jade bittering for 40 mins (making my own fresh wort kits with no chill cubes), and the orange smells were crazy strong. SX for bittering and as part of a late addition blend I also enjoy.
Pacific Jade and Pacifica have proved a successful combo for me. More of a 'marmaladey' citrus flavour than some of the more pungent & popular NZ varieties to my taste.
Currently trying some Pacific Gem variations, smells good in the kettle.
marmalade is on the money. I have a pac jade and pacifica (and friends) in the keg at the moment, and orange marmalade exactly how I'd describe it.
I love NZ Fuggles but it is exteremely hard to get in commercial quantities.
Pacific Jade and Southern Cross are two favoute high-alpha hops, with NZ Styrian one of the less talked about hops that I really love. So much depends on the rest of the recipe (grist, yeast, style).
NZ Willamette is another good hop. I find its like a fruitier fuggles and goes great in English Bitters. I'm seriously tempted to do a 10 litre batch of an IPA late hopped with sticklebract. Pine and citrus sounds like it could go well in that kind of beer
As I started AG about this time last year I also grabbed a big pack of Sticklebract as the 'pine' seemed to my liking. Have found it great if you get it right, but can leave some harsh flavours. This is probably worst as a late hop or particularly leaving in too long as a dry hop. The SMaSH lager I did took ages to smooth out, probably 3 months. Was quite nice in the end and I would be tempted to do it again with higher quantities late. Works great together with NZ Hallertau, better than other combos & I have tried it with Riwaka and Motueka.
My other success is PG then NZ Fuggles for flavour. Might try it with NZ Williamette given Richards advice. Pacifica I only find good for late additions. Same beer with NZ Styrians instead of NZ Fuggles wasn't as good for me, but did go better with a toastier grist. My first IPA was centred around Rakau. It was too sweet so I boiled up some Sticklebract additions in water to bring it up to an estimated 75 IBU from 45. Saved the day :-)
I'm thinking off using some green bullet in the hop back for a brew on Friday. The rest of the hop bill is Columbus for bittering, and Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Aroma for flavour and aroma. Is this a really bad idea?
Dunno. It is a pretty interesting hop and I like it in at earlier additions... If you have N.Sauvin and Hallertau in there already and dont overdo the GB then it should be all good?
Overdoing it is my middle name. My experience with the hop back is that there's a big aroma in the fermenter but by the time it gets to the glass that aroma has dissipated a bit. I'll find out, I guess.